Toppled Malian president resigns
TRIPOLI - ReutersMali’s President Amadou Toumani Toure, toppled in a military coup last month, formally resigned April 8, paving the way for the departure of the junta that ousted him.
Under the terms of a transition deal with the West African bloc ECOWAS, the junta’s leaders said they would allow a return to democracy once Toure formally quit. The deal also provided for a lifting of sanctions imposed by ECOWAS, already enacted, and an amnesty for those involved in the coup.
Looking tired and thin, Toure appeared in images broadcast by French international station France 24 to say the ECOWAS deal was right for the country. He had been put under no pressure to step down, he said. “More than anything I do it out of the love I have for my country.” This was his first public appearance since going into hiding following the coup.
Under the terms of the agreement, speaker of parliament Dioncounda Traore is to become interim president with the task of organizing elections, if possible within 40 days, according to the agreement. But he also has to deal with the consequences of the uprising in the northern half of the country. Mali’s northern half is now under the control of Islamist and Tuareg rebels. Tuareg fighters there issued a declaration of independence April 6 that was rejected not just by the international community but by their former allies, the Islamist militia. According to the United Nations, more than 200,000 people have fled their homes in Mali since January, seeking refuge elsewhere in the nation or in neighboring countries.